Discussions on HST needed much earlier

Re: ‘People’s victory’ means pain ahead, B.C. Views, Sept. 1.

To the Editor,

Re: ‘People’s victory’ means pain ahead, B.C. Views, Sept. 1.

Tom Fletcher and the other apologists for this sad, discredited and ultimately expensive attempt to slip a tax program past an unknowing and possibly unwilling electorate just don’t seem get it.

What we are talking about here is arrogance in power.

The merits of the harmonized sales tax versus PST/GST systems can be debated, and should have been, leading up to and during the last election.

Unfortunately, such discussions didn’t happen. Rather than going to the polls to get a mandate for their “excellent plan”, the B.C. Liberal government chose to lie to the public to retain power.

The sad thing is there is no real evidence to show they would have necessarily lost if they had been up front with the public. But, the desire to cling to office rode roughshod over any democratic discussion on the relative merits of their proposed tax changes.

Even granting the Gordon Campbell government’s dubious time line leading up to their decision to proceed with the HST, no one seriously considered what the people think about this.

No. When all was said and done, the Campbell government made the time-honoured mistake of all arrogant politicos: “L’etat c’est moi” (The state is me).

Today it is said a little differently. “What’s good for me and my friends is good for the state.”

I’m guessing they thought once the HST was in place it would all blow over, time would heal all wounds, only a few curmudgeons would complain and in the end, all would be good.

Unfortunately for them, the need for public discussion trumped their cliquish view of government.

That is the reason why we are now facing the current situation. It is not the “self-centred and unrealistic” great unwashed who voted ‘yes’ in the referendum who caused this mess. It is those who schemed to avoid the democratic process for their own ends. They are the villains in this piece.

And current Premier Christy Clark knows it.

There is no election on the horizon. The B.C. Liberal Party is hoping by the time of the next mandated election all this will be ancient history and they will have a better chance of getting re-elected.

Well, it could happen, but I, for one, hope not.

Michael Utgaard

Nanoose Bay